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Library: Policy

340:50-1-3. Utilization of benefits

Revised 9-15-22

(a) Scope and applicability.  Under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), households receive food benefits based on their level of need.  Participating households may use their benefits to purchase eligible food at retail stores that Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has authorized to accept SNAP food benefits.  State or local sales tax cannot be charged on eligible food purchases paid for with benefits.  In specified instances, persons may use their benefits to purchase prepared meals.  Benefits may be used only by the household, or other persons the household selects to purchase eligible food for the household, per Section 274.7 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 C.F.R. § 274.7).

(b) Eligible food.  Per 7 C.F.R. § 271.2, eligible food means:

(1) any food or food product intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, hot foods, and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption;

(2) seeds and plants to grow foods for eligible households' personal consumption;

(3) meals prepared and delivered by an authorized meal delivery service to households eligible to use SNAP food benefits to purchase delivered meals;

(4) meals served by an authorized communal dining facility for the elderly or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to households eligible to use SNAP food benefits for communal dining;

(5) meals prepared and served by a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation center to eligible residents and children of residents who live with their parents;

(6) meals prepared and served by a group living arrangement facility to residents who are blind or disabled, per Oklahoma Administrative Code 340:50-5-4; 

(7) meals prepared and served by a shelter for battered women and children to its eligible residents;

(8) meals prepared for and served by an authorized public or private, non-profit establishment, such as a soup kitchen or temporary shelter, approved by an appropriate state or local agency that feeds homeless persons; and

(9) meals prepared by a restaurant that contracts with an appropriate state agency to serve meals to homeless persons at low or reduced prices.

(c) Prior payment prohibition.  Participating households must not use their SNAP food benefits to pay for any eligible food purchased prior to the time they present their electronic benefit (EBT) cards to authorized retailers or meal services, per 7 C.F.R. § 274.7.  Households must also not use their SNAP food benefits to pay for any eligible food before receiving the food, except when prior payment is made to purchase food from a nonprofit cooperative food purchasing venture.

(d) Container deposit fees.  SNAP food benefits may not be used to pay for deposit fees in excess of the amount of the State fee reimbursement required to purchase any food or food product contained in a returnable bottle or can, regardless of whether the fee is included in the shelf price posted for item, per 7 C.F.R § 274.7. The returnable container type and fee must be included in State law in order for participating households to pay for the upfront deposit with their SNAP benefits.  When a SNAP eligible product has a State deposit fee associated with it, the product remains eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits, and the State deposit fee may be paid with SNAP as well; however, any fee in excess of the State deposit fee must be paid in cash or other payment form other than with SNAP benefits.

(e) Communal dining and meal delivery services.  The criteria in (1) through (2) of this subsection is used to determine if household members qualify to use their food benefits at communal dining facilities or for meal delivery services.

(1) Communal dining facility.  A communal dining facility may accept SNAP food benefits only after FNS approval.  Communal dining facility means a:

(A) public or non-profit private establishments that prepare and serve meals for elderly persons, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, and their spouses.  Elderly persons are persons 60 years of age and older;

(B) public or non-profit establishments that feed elderly persons, SSI recipients, and their spouses;

(C) federally subsidized housing for the elderly where meals are prepared for and serviced to the residents; and

(D) private establishments under contract with a state or local agency to offer meals at low or reduced prices to elderly persons, or SSI recipients, and their spouses.

(2) Meal delivery service.  A meal delivery service means a political subdivision, a private non-profit organization, or a private establishment that contracts with a state or local agency to prepare and deliver meals at low or reduced prices to elderly persons and their spouses, and to physically, mentally, or otherwise disabled persons, and their spouses to the extent that they are unable to adequately prepare all of their meals. 

(f) Homeless meal providers.  FNS authorizes homeless meal providers as retail food stores after they apply and qualify to accept food benefits from homeless SNAP food benefit recipients, per 7 C.F.R. § 278.1.

(1) Homeless meal providers must:

(A) be public or private, non-profit organizations as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, per Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code;

(B) serve meals that include food purchased by the provider;

(C) meet requirements, per 7 C.F.R. § 278.1(a) and (b); and

(D) provide evidence to Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) that they serve meals to the homeless to obtain OKDHS approval prior to seeking FNS approval.

(2) Homeless meal providers may not act as authorized representatives for homeless SNAP food benefit recipients, per C.F.R. § 272.3(n)(4).

(g) Homeless restaurant meals.  FNS may approve as retail food stores, restaurants that contract with OKDHS to sell meals to homeless SNAP households in exchange for SNAP food benefits, per 7 C.F.R. § 272.9 and 7 C.F.R. § 278.1(i).  The restaurant must provide a copy of the contract to FNS when it applies for approval to accept SNAP food benefits.  The contract requires the restaurant to offer the meals at low or reduced prices and specify the approximate price or the amount and type of price reduction.  Examples of reduced prices include, but are not limited to:

(1) a percentage reduction;

(2) a set dollar amount reduction;

(3) a daily special meal; or

(4) an offer of a free food item or beverage, excluding alcoholic beverages.  • 1

(h) Social services.  The worker is responsible for providing or referring families for social services that the family needs and requests, when available.  OKDHS staff are required to make mandatory referrals to OKDHS Child Welfare Services when child abuse is suspected.

(i) Volunteers.  Volunteers may assist in activities, such as outreach, prescreening, helping clients complete and submit SNAP food benefit applications, and securing needed verification.  Only authorized OKDHS staff may interview clients to determine SNAP food benefit eligibility and certify households, per 7 C.F.R. § 272.4.


Issued 9-15-22

1.  There are no restaurants currently approved to serve meals to the homeless in Oklahoma.

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